Yaaar! A few years after the original, the first sequel be sailing into theaters.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writors: Ted Elliott,,
Terry Rossio, et al.

Cast:
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
Orlando Bloom as Will Turner
Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Swann
Bill Nighy and a boatload of special effects as Davy Jones
Lee Arenberg as Pintel
Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti
Jack Davenport as James Norrington
Tom Hollander as Lord Beckett
Other Actors as Various Characters

Premise:

Will Tuner and Elizabeth Swann face execution for helping Jack Sparrow in the previous movie, and can only secure their freedom by obtaining his magic compass. Sparrow, meanwhile, needs to find a key which could free him from Davy Jones, who in this version of things commands both the Flying Dutchman and the monstrous Kraken.

High Point:

It’s a mythological beast. I calls it what I wants.
–Ragetti

The first of several final sequences, the fight over the Dead Man’s Chest on the island. It’s exciting and parodic, and features excellent fight choreography.

The commentary by Pintel and Ragetti often proves amusing, and indicates that the writers have some idea of the film’s overwhelming goofiness.

Low Point:

The ending drags on too long, segueing from one potential ending to another and finally into an overly long commercial for Episode III.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The bizarre, Lovecraftian take on Davy Jones is original. Jones is Cthulhu Lite, and the film has some innovative fun with his crew. Otherwise, this film plunders the first one, with more and stranger effects and action sequences. The premise of the first film, of course, was not terribly original: a quest film that was a tribute to old swashbucklers and movie serials, and took its inspiration from a Disney ride. It wasn’t even the first film to be so-inspired; the distinction belongs to The Goonies (1985). Dead Man’s Chest makes its quest structure very clear, and frequently resembles a role-playing game.

Genre fans also may note that this is the middle film of a trilogy about a quest among strange worlds inhabited by exotic folk. It features two male heroes, one a scoundrel moving towards goodness and the other a somewhat dull noble man trying to find his inner tough guy and redeem his father. Both of these men are drawn to the same feisty woman, and all must deal with an evil empire and an inhuman villain who has a bounty on the scoundrel. Sound familiar?

Finally, the disturbing scene between father and son on the Flying Dutchman uses the plot device of a noted disturbing South African story.

Effects:6/6 This film features spectacular effects, of course, including decent CGI. Most memorable is this film’s conception of Davy Jones.

Story: 3/6. The story has everyone chasing after a couple of related McGuffins which lead them into various dangerous situations.

Acting: 5/6 The cast do what they’re supposed to be doing in this sort of movie. Depp remains entertaining as Jack Sparrow. However, this film lacks the simplified but engaging character interactions of its predecessor.

Production: 6/6 The filmmakers have created a distinct, often dark world for the film.

Emotional Response: 4/6. The film has thrills and suspense, but elicits few other kinds of emotional responses.

Overall: 4/6. This is an exceedingly silly film that works as a summer popcorn movie. It runs longer than its plot and characters can sustain.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest receives a total score of 30/42